2022 was an interesting year - especially after 2020 and 2021. Most people were no longer dealing with lock downs or mask wearing, and we were just beginning to see the side effects of all the stuff that happened during that time. (I also think we'll see more in the years to come, but of course, how much remains to be seen.)
During 2020 and 2021, some businesses never really stopped (at least not for long) and some businesses figured out how to make remote working successful. Some businesses boomed and others went bust. All businesses were affected in one way or another.
As 2022 got off to a start, people who weren't already, were beginning to go back into the office. More importantly, businesses were pushing for employees to return to the office, even though many of those same employees had proven that they could successfully manage their jobs remotely. Some employees were even more engaged, motivated and productive when they were able to work remotely. Of course, that wasn't the case for everyone, but then again, everyone is different. Some people are more extroverted, and others are more introverted; some people like vanilla and others like chocolate - for example.
Personally, I can attest to my own ability to be more productive when working from home. I discussed the work-life balance back in May of 2022. Flextime offers me the ability to manage my household better and I don't have to sit in traffic every day, wasting precious time commuting to and from work. I am fortunate that my employer understands that 5 days a week in the office is not necessary and my split schedule works for both of us. Not all employers are that way and I know it.
So, what does all this mean as we enter 2023?
Over the last few weeks, JW and I have been discussing all the changes 2020 and 2021 brought into 2022. We have both been reading and hearing a lot in the news about how people were changed by the pandemic. From what we've seen and heard, more people are realizing that a good work-life balance is more important to them than ever. People who used to work late every day and take on as much extra work as possible to move up the corporate ladder aren't as likely to do so anymore. Home and family mean more to them.
Another thing that is being seen is that people who are being forced back into the office full time are finding jobs that offer more flexibility and are quitting the jobs that forced them back. This article also discusses the importance of allowing remote work options to be continued and how many employees thrived working remotely.
Let me end with a real-life example. JW changed jobs in 2022 in part because he enjoys working from home - his old job was pushing for everyone to come back into the office. Also, JW and I get up every morning at 5am. When JW goes into the office, he leaves the house at 6am, drives to the office, puts in his 8 hours (maybe 8-1/2 depending on his lunch), then leaves work to drive home around 3:30pm (we both try to avoid high traffic times). When he works at home, JW gets to his computer at 6am and works at least until 4:00pm - often later - working a minimum of 9 hours when working from home. Due to the nature of his work, he may also return to his computer after dinner to check on a process he left running and/or fire off another process - he has even awakened in the middle of the night to do this. Productivity wise, he is way more productive at home and has the ability to get a lot more done. If he had to go into the office every day, this would not happen.
So, what changed for you in 2022? Did you change jobs? If so, why? How important is your work-life balance? How important is it for you to be able to work from home? Do you love flextime?
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